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9 die as ship sinks off ROK, including Chinese

Updated: 2013-10-16 04:38
( Xinhua)

9 die as ship sinks off ROK, including Chinese

The cargo ship CHENGLU15 is seen amid a storm in Yingri Harbor of Pohang in South Korea on Tuesday. [Photo/Xinhua]

SEOUL - A Panamanian-registered cargo ship carrying 19 people sank in South Korea's southeast Pohang harbor amid a storm at around 21:30 local time on Tuesday, leaving 9 people dead and two missing, according to the Chinese Consulate General in Busan.

An official from the Chinese Consulate General confirmed that among the 19 people aboard, 18 were Chinese citizens and the remaining one was Vietnamese.

Eight people have been rescued and 9 bodies recovered by far, while two people are still missing, according to the South Korea's coast guard who conducts the rescue operation as saying.

Officials from Chinese Consulate General in Busan have visited the eight survivors sent to a local hospital, saying all of them suffered only tiny superficial wounds and are in stable condition.

South Korea's coast guard said the ship CHENGLU15 set off from Pyeongtaek Port of South Korea's west coast on Oct 2 and arrived at Pohang two days later to unload the cargo. It was planning to leave for Japan on Tuesday after unloading all the cargo, but decided to stay considering the bad weather.

At around 15:15 local time on Tuesday, the ship crew called local police, reporting that the ship ran into the seawall as its anchor was swept away by the storm. But South Korean coast guard was only able to get close to the ship until 17:00 since strong wind and waves hampered the rescue operation.

The ship sank after six hours in Yingri Harbor of Pohang.

The Panamanian-registered ship belongs to China's Lishen International Shipping Group Corporation in Zhejiang province.

The South Korean coast guard has established an emergency rescue headquarter, sending helicopters, ships and special rescue team to search the missing people.

Chinese Consulate General in Busan has also sent a team of four people to assist the rescue work and called for the South Korean side to make all-out efforts to rescue the crew.